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Business Commentary China’s plan for Hangzhou summit: build consensus, push development

Luo Zhaohui is Chinese ambassador to Canada.

In early September, the 2016 Group of 20 Summit will be held in Hangzhou, China. Chinese President Xi Jinping will be joined by leaders from other G20 members, guest countries and international organizations to discuss ways to advance global economic co-operation and development.

In 2014, the G20 Brisbane summit announced that China would host the 2016 leaders meeting. The next month, China, Turkey and Australia formed a new "troika" mechanism (including the current, immediate past and next host countries). China has since participated in the overall process of the G20 policy co-ordination and taken up the heavy responsibilities of facilitating strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the global economy.

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On Dec. 1, 2015, the very day China officially took over the G20 presidency, Mr. Xi delivered a special message, expounding on China's vision and considerations. China chose "Toward an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy" as the theme for Hangzhou, and identified four key priorities:

  • Breaking a new path for growth;
  • More effective and efficient global economic and financial governance;
  • Robust international trade and investment;
  • Inclusive and interconnected development.

The proposed theme and topics have received strong endorsement and support from other G20 members. They all agree that China's vision embodies long-term, strategic considerations and demonstrates a broad perspective and ambitious goals.

Since the beginning of this year, China has been engaged in preparation for the Hangzhou summit. China adheres to an open and inclusive working style, and always attaches importance to all sorts of views and respects all sorts of voices. China has been working closely with other G20 members, guest countries and international organizations, which has deepened mutual understanding and enhanced the ground for co-operation. China has also held outreach dialogue with almost all United Nations member states, in particular the developing countries. We have strengthened communications with the UN General Assembly, the African Union Headquarters, the G77, the Least Developed Countries, landlocked countries and small island states, and listened widely to other parties and absorbed their views and suggestions.

G20 activities run through the whole year of China's presidency, with the culmination in the summit. More than 60 events have been or will be held in 20 Chinese cities, including 23 ministerial-level meetings. So far, China has convened three sherpa meetings, three finance ministerial and central bank governors' meetings and finance and central bank deputies' meetings, and four ministerial meetings on trade, energy, employment and agriculture, respectively. Major side events, such as the Labor 20, the Think Tank 20, the Youth 20, the Women 20 and the Civil 20, were also held successfully. This series of intense and productive works has synergized consensus to the greatest extent and paved the way for the convening of the Hangzhou summit.

This year has been a difficult one for the world economy. It has been almost 10 years since the global financial crisis. Amid the still-weak recovery, the policies of the world's major economies have clearly diverged, and trade and investment protectionism is rearing its head. Traditional growth drivers have lost momentum, and the old approach of stimulating it merely through fiscal and monetary policies has become less and less effective. The international community is in urgent need for new ideas. The International Monetary Fund has twice downgraded its outlook for global growth in 2016 to 3.1 per cent. The world is full of expectations for this year's G20 Summit – that member states will build consensus and hammer out action plans. They also expect China to play a greater role in improving global governance and boosting the world's economic growth.

The framework and main areas of summit outcomes have taken shape and arrangements for the main events have been decided. Hangzhou is likely to achieve nearly 30 major results, which would make it the most fruitful of all such summits. Here are but a few:

Providing a new development framework for medium-to-long-term global economic growth. At Hangzhou, the development issue will take a prominent position within the global macro-policy framework. This will be a G20 first. We aim to steady growth in the near term by addressing the symptoms and add momentum in the long term by treating the root causes. We hope this will assist in the G20's transition from a crisis-response mechanism to one focusing on long-term governance. All parties have endorsed in principle a blueprint for innovation-driven growth, as well as action plans for innovation, a new industrial revolution and the digital economy. Parties have also agreed to strengthen trade and investment mechanisms and oppose trade protectionism of all kinds. This will enable G20 members to come together toward a common vision of opening up a new path for global growth with concrete actions and specific mechanisms.

Enhancing global economic and financial governance. The G20 is widely recognized as the premier forum for global economic governance. With China's promotion, all parties endorsed nine priority areas and 48 guiding principles of structural reforms and passed the Global Infrastructure Connectivity Alliance Initiative. Parties also agreed to catalyze private investment in infrastructure. The inclusive framework proposed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for global implementation of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project has been endorsed at the finance ministers' and central bank governors' meetings. The Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking, another first, was approved at the trade ministers' meeting. The G20 energy ministers' meeting adopted the G20 Energy Ministerial Meeting Beijing Communiqué, and encourages members to develop energy strategies, including renewables development, and to propose action plans. With the long-stalled international financial architecture working group successfully reactivated, parties are pushing forward reforms in international economic governance, focusing on deeper integration and bigger roles for emerging markets in the international financial system.

Expanding new areas of global co-operation. With the initiative of China and the support of all parties concerned, the G20's April sherpa meeting issued the G20's first-ever presidency statement on climate change, by which parties pledged to sign the Paris Agreement and complete domestic approval procedures as early as possible. The move has been acknowledged and welcomed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a special statement. China urges parties involved to quicken the pace of domestic approval so the agreement can enter into force at an early date to contribute to international co-operation on climate change. All parties have approved high-level principles on anti-corruption, fugitive repatriation and asset recovery, agreed to set up a research centre on fugitive repatriation and asset recovery in China, and approved in principle the 2017-18 anti-corruption action plan.

Enhancing co-operation with developing countries. As the largest developing country, it's China's due responsibility and obligation to safeguard and expand the just rights and interests of developing countries. China has invited Laos (which holds the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Chad (presidency of the African Union), Senegal (presidency of the New Partnership for Africa's Development) and two representative major developing countries, Kazakhstan and Egypt, to attend the Hangzhou summit. China is also arranging for the participation of Thailand (which holds the presidency of the G77). The Hangzhou summit will see the participation of the most developing countries in the history of G20. All parties have passed the principles of an action plan on implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and an initiative on co-operation to support industrialization of Africa and the world's least developed countries. China will encourage G20 members to help Africa and LDCs speed up industrialization, reduce poverty and pursue sustainable development.

Canada is a founding member of the G20 mechanism. Almost 20 years ago, former Canadian finance minister Paul Martin trumpeted the need for a G20 in the context of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. In 2010, Canada successfully hosted the Toronto summit, attended by Hu Jintao, then China's president. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also travel to China and participate at Hangzhou.

China and Canada are key players within the G20 group and among the world's major economies – China looks forward to continuing close co-operation and co-ordination with Canada under the framework of G20 for a fruitful summit, conveying our confidence to the world and injecting new impetus to global economic growth.

The preparatory work for Hangzhou has entered a countdown. China is ready to welcome distinguished guests from all over the world. We are confident that the summit will write a brilliant chapter in G20 history, bringing good news to the people and hope to the world.

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